Testosterone cypionate is an injectable steroid medication that is used as a hormone replacement therapy for males who do not make enough testosterone themselves. The controlled substance drug is sometimes also used by weight lifters to increase their strength, but it is not FDA-approved for this use.
Testosterone cypionate is injected into the gluteal muscles of the buttocks. According to Paddock Laboratories, the manufacturer of testosterone cypionate, recommended dosage varies according to the man's size and specific medical condition. The drug is manufactured at a strength of 200 mg/ml. Men who take testosterone cypionate should be well aware of the risks of using the drug.
One of the risks associated with this type of hormone treatment is a compromise of liver function. Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors and cysts may appear on the liver, especially if the treatment with testosterone cypionate is prolonged.
Higher-than-normal levels of calcium in the blood, a condition called hypercalcemia, is a risk of using this form of androgen hormone. Hypercalcemia can cause muscle twitching and weakness, kidney stones, nausea, depression and bone pain. Paddock Labs states that patients who develop high blood calcium levels should stop using the medication.
Older men who are in need of testosterone cypionate injections can develop prostate problems as a result of the hormone therapy. Prostatic hypertrophy, or an enlarged prostate, is one of the risks, and may include problems with blockages of the urethra. Carcinoma, or prostate cancer, may also result from using testosterone cypionate.
One of the ingredients in the injection is benzyl alcohol, a substance that can produce a sometimes fatal condition in premature babies called gasping syndrome. Infant boys who are given testosterone in this form to correct abnormalities are at risk for irregular breathing (gasping), metabolic acidosis and liver and kidney failure. Seizures and other neurological damage may occur, which can lead to death.
Permanent short stature is a risk associated with testosterone cypionate when it is used in boys who suffer from delayed puberty, according to Paddock Labs. Bone growth in the hands should be measured twice yearly to determine if the patient is developing as he should.
Sexual Side Effects
Men who take very high doses of testosterone cypionate or who use it for long periods of time, may find a lowering of their sperm count. This medical condition is called oligospermia. Men who experience oligospermia should consult their doctor about reducing their dose of the medication. Other sexual side effects may include the enlargement of the breasts, a condition called gynecomastia, and prolonged erections, called priapism.
People who take testosterone cypionate may develop edema, a swelling throughout their body. Those who have a history of heart, kidney or liver disease could go into cardiac arrest in addition to experiencing edema.